For two years, the U.S. and New Zealand have been trying to reach an agreement on a marine sanctuary, roughly the size of Alaska, in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. Fishing would be banned in the sanctuary and it would become a place where scientists could study climate change, free from human disruption.
Just this month, the compromise failed when senior New Zealand politicians rejected it, even though this region only accounts for less than two percent of their fishing industry. As a whole, the Ross Sea fishery is small, only worth about $60 million per year. In New Zealand it is worth only $16 million of their billion dollar industry.
The Ross Sea is so important to conservationists because it remains largely untainted by mankind. Evan Bloom, director of the U.S. State Department‘s Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs, explains that it is possibly the best place on Earth for scientists to study changes without human interference.
“If you can’t do it in Antarctica, where can you do it?” he asked.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has taken particular interest in the outcome of this negotiation, called it “one of the last great marine wilderness areas on the planet.”
You can read more from the Huffington Post here: Antarctica Marine Sanctuary Plans for Ross Sea Falter.
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.